Darren Sproles Returning to RB Committee

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By David Reber (Flickr: Running Back Darren Sproles.) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By David Reber (Flickr: Running Back Darren Sproles.) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
New Orleans running back Darren Sproles has resumed practice after undergoing hand surgery on November 4th. The burning question for many fans and I’m sure the Saints coach staff, is how in the world they’ll divvy carries between there five highly productive running backs.  The Saints have totaled 288 rushing yards over the last two weeks in wins over the Eagles and Falcons. Joe Vitt’s return from suspension has no doubt played a huge role in the Saints ability to get the ground game going.

On Wednesday Vitt offered little insight into who will be featured going forward:

We’re going to activate whoever gives us the best chance to win. That changes week to week on the opponent that we’re playing, the fronts that we’re seeing, the potential weather we’re playing in. Those things help us make a decision on a week to week basis on who will play in the game.

After setting an NFL record 2,696 all-purpose yards last season, there’s no doubt he’ll be a major part of the Saints game plan. Currently, Sproles ranks second on the team in receiving (39 receptions, 323 yards, four touchdowns), third in rushing (26 carries, 117 yards) and handles both kickoff and punt returns. We don’t see Sproles looking any return or receiving work however, one must assume that his rushing attempts will be limited due to the recent emergence of Ingram and Ivory.

Headed into Week 11

According to Mike Triplett, Darren Sproles is question for Week 11. Interim head coach Joe Vitt said Sproles is experiencing some "swelling" in his previously fractured hand. The Saints would be wise to give him another week’s reset and we believe they will indeed do just that.

Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas will most likely handle the backfield rotation with the Saints going with the hot hand. I expect the snap count to remain relatively similar to what we saw last week against the Atlanta Falcons.

Looking ahead to Week 12

We anticipate Sproles taking the field in Week 12. He hasn’t been near as effective with Sean Peyton gone, but he’s still the obvious third down back in New Orleans. Until the Saints figure out new ways to get him into space he’s a risky RB3 in PPR leagues. My fearless prediction is Pierre Thomas, not Chris Ivory, will be the “man out” when Sproles returns.